Lombok shares a similar, wet-dry weather pattern to Bali although the traditional rainy season, from Oct-Apr, isn't as wet and humid which makes it a great alternative outside of the peak, drier months from May-Sep. Lombok certainly isn't as busy either during Dec-Jan, and, although fasting during Ramadan is widely practised (dates vary), the majority of facilities remain open to travellers. The best time to visit Lombok for snorkelling, especially around the Gilis, is from Sep-Nov as water conditions are matched by comfortable land temperatures and hardly any crowds.



Things to do on Lombok...

As soon as you see Sendang Gile waterfall at the foot of Mount Rinjani you'll begin to understand just what Indonesia’s second largest mountain means to the people of Lombok. Climbing Rinjani requires solid trekking to the campsite on the crater's rim at 2,639m, followed by a 3am start to make the summit (3,726m) at sunrise on day two. Resting at Segara Anak lake (2,000m) gives you a chance to soak tired limbs before descending through tropical forests on day four to Senaru village (600m).
The triple island Gili archipelago, off Lombok's northwest coast, offers Indonesian escapism at its finest with the closest island, Gili Air, just 40mins by small boat, ringed by white sands and coral reefs, perfect for snorkelling or strolling, coast to coast. Gili Air has just the right balance between things to do and hammock time with chances to set sail on a motorised wooden boat ideal for swimming with sea turtles before being lured back to shore for sustainably sourced seafood suppers.
The majority of Lombok's population share the same background as Bali’s although, whereas the Balinese are mainly Hindu, the Sasak people of Lombok are predominantly Muslim. Visiting a Sasak village within central Lombok, such as Sade, Pringgasela or Masbagik, is an important part of understanding the differences between the two neighbours as well as offering insight into the traditional craft of bamboo weaving and pottery making before tucking into a ceremonial Sasak feast.

Things not to do on Lombok…

Bali isn't just Lombok's brasher, bigger brother it also makes for a great cultural comparison so don't discount visiting both islands on a tailor made holiday. Ubud, especially, invites a whirl of artisan boutiques and market stalls close to forests filled with monkeys and sacred Hindu heritage, whereas Bali's east coast boasts several peaceful pockets untouched by mass tourism with villages like Tenganan and seaside towns like Candidasa offering excellent options pre or post visit to Lombok.
Although it can be tempting on a trip to Lombok to stick solely to the coast, it's equally worthwhile to take a tour of the island's central region where the fertile volcanic slopes of Mount Rinjani offer an authentic slice of agricultural life where rice paddies are still ploughed by water buffalo and rustic villages can be found skirting the edge of the tropical jungle. From cloves and coffee to tofu and soya beans, rural life in Lombok is a world away from anything else you'll experience in Indonesia.
As a predominantly Islamic island, the call to prayer can be heard across Lombok which not only adds to the ambience but should also act as a reminder for responsible travellers to respect religious customs, especially when it comes to visiting sacred sites and meeting local people. Don't just pack bikinis or vest tops when visiting Lombok, make sure you've got enough items to cover up when required and do your research when it comes to traditional etiquette and respecting the wishes of your hosts.
If you'd like to chat about Lombok or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700



How to get to Lombok

Laura Farnell from our supplier, Intrepid Travel: “The best way to get to Lombok is by fast boat from Padang Bai Harbour or from Serangan in Bali. There are options for flying and slow ferry also. On arrival we travel by private minibus; it’s really efficient because several of our chosen locations aren’t on the public bus routes.”

Get ready for Rinjani

Laurenne Mansbridge, Director of our supplier Pioneer Expeditions, describes trekking on Mount Rinjani: "Rinjani is an interesting place as most of the trek is not too hard. Day one, to the rim, is a long way up but if you take your time it’s not so bad. The main difficulty is Base Camp to the summit. This can be a gruelling climb of four hours on scree. Again, it is just a matter of taking your time and eventually you’ll get there.”

Getting away from it all

Laura Farnell, from our supplier Intrepid Travel, shares her impressions of the Gili Islands: “Gili Air is relaxed with quite a few small guesthouses and restaurants. It’s also a great spot for snorkelling, with sea turtles to be seen just off the beach. Gili Trawangan is livelier with the swings near Villa Ombak and the local night market, close to the harbour, popular spots at sunset. Gili Meno is much quieter than its neighbours, and well worth a visit to escape the crowds.”

Experience life like a local

Laurenne Mansbridge, Director of our supplier Pioneer Expeditions: “The best way to learn about rural life on Lombok is to visit the villages around the base of Rinjani. They’re able to grow everything in the fertile lowlands as it’s a temperate climate and offers insight into rural lifestyles and farming culture. Doing a two day tour also really helps local people benefit from tourist rupiah.”

Experience life like a local

Catharina van Rijn, from our supplier Imaginative Traveller, found these phrases useful: “We visited an authentic local market in Praya. I tried to learn 10 phrases of Bahasa every day and used them all the time. The locals were very impressed and they really appreciated somebody making an effort. Best phrases to start with are: Salamat pagi (Good morning), Siapa nama anda? (What's your name?), Apa kabar? (How are you?), Salamat malan (Good evening), Tidak terima kasih (No thank you).”



At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Lombok travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your suitcase.

“Bear in mind that Lombok is not as commercial as Bali – but this is its charm.” – Jo Christophe

“You need to be relatively fit however there is not pressure to participate in any of the activities. Accommodation and transport are very basic but add to the whole experience. Take ear plugs!” – Tracy Lawrence

“Bring a lightweight poncho, some good binoculars, and extra strength mosquito repellent.” – Jillian Woodford

“You just have to open yourself up and be willing to take it all in. The local people can offer you so much. Be willing to speak with them and learn about their lives.” – Ruth Hanson“Bring modest clothes to wear in the temples and small villages - shirts that cover shoulders and shorts that are just above the knee or lower. Bring a torch for the mountain hike!” – Christina Colley
Photo credit: [Temp Chart: Francesco] [Get ready for Rinjani: Trekking Rinjani] [Experience local life: SarahTz] [Tip1: Ivetta Inaray] [Tip2: SarahTz] [Helpdesk: Yeowatzup]
Written by Chris Owen
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